Lehman hopes to fix his swing at Principal Charity

By Associated PressJune 2, 2011, 9:58 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tom Lehman is having one heck of a season for a guy who feels his swing has been out of whack.

Lehman leads the Champions Tour in earnings, tops the Charles Schwab Cup standings and will try for his fourth victory in nine starts when he tees off Friday in the Principal Charity Classic.

But in Lehman’s mind, something isn’t quite right with his game and last weekend was a reminder. The 52-year-old Minnesota native ran off six straight birdies in the third round of the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla, the longest such stretch on the tour this year, then struggled to a final round 77 that included two double-bogeys.

“I could feel that round coming,” Lehman said. “The last several rounds I’ve played have not been very good. I have been very erratic. My swing has been a little bit out of synch. I would play really well for a number of holes and I would play really poorly for a number of holes.”

Lehman said his up-and-down play goes back to his victory in the Regions Tradition at Birmingham in early May, the senior tour’s first major.

“I could feel my swing was getting away from me,” he said. “I wasn’t hitting it the way I normally do. I didn’t make many bogeys, so I kind of won that one by just not beating myself. But at the PGA Championship, I hit some great shots and I hit some really poor shots and I just never ever got into a flow where I played well for 18 holes.”

Lehman has seen clues this week that his game might coming back around. He could have played in the Memorial, but thought he’d be better served at this point by playing the par-71 Glen Oaks course.

The course has been receptive to low scores – Nick Price won last year at 14-under – but wind can turn the layout into a far more daunting challenge. Breezy conditions are forecast for Friday, with gusts up to 30 mph.

“I’m way better today than I was last week,” Lehman said after his Thursday pro-am round. “I actually saw a swing that I made (last week) and no wonder I hit it so lousy. That was terrible. So I kind of had an idea of what the deal was and how to fix it.

“To me, it’s about rhythm and balance. I felt way better today than I did Tuesday and way better Tuesday than I did Sunday.”

Lehman’s fast start has made him the leading contender for the tour’s player of the year award, an honor that would give him a trifecta if it happens. He also has been player of the year on the PGA Tour (1996) and Nationwide Tour (1991).

No one has been player of the year on all three tours. Then again, not everyone has played on all three tours.

“You have to be, I wouldn’t say lousy enough, but you have to struggle enough at some point to be able to have a chance to win on the Nationwide,” Lehman said. “A lot of guys are just too good to ever have played there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t, but it sure was good for me.”

The Senior PGA, won by Tom Watson, was the fourth straight Champions Tour tournament that ended in a playoff. Such a string has occurred only once before, in 2005.

“It just goes to show you there’s a lot of guys on an even scale out here,” said Mark Calcavecchia, who led at the Regions Tradition well into the final round. “You’ve got to putt good. You’ve got to have a good week on the greens because if you don’t, other guys will. Nobody’s ever won a tournament without making a bunch of putts and getting lucky.”

Calcavecchia’s lead in Alabama evaporated with a double-bogey on No. 12 and he closed with a 75 to finish in a tie for fifth. He also finished fifth at The ACE Group Classic in February. The 1989 British Open champion is still looking for his first victory in just under 12 months on the 50-and-over tour.

“I’ve had some good chances to win and haven’t quite pulled it off yet,” he said. “I knew the golf was great because I’ve been paying attention to the scores. But it’s better than I even thought it was. Some guys are better now than they ever were in their whole careers.”

John Huston, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, will find out how he stacks up against the seniors when he makes his Champions Tour debut on Friday. Huston, whose last victory came in 2003, turned 50 on Wednesday and was treated to a birthday cake in the clubhouse after his pro-am round.

“From the start of the year, when I knew when it would be, where it would fall, I was looking forward to it,” Huston said. “I’ll try not to put too much pressure on myself to do whatever and just see how it works out.”

Also playing in his first Champions event: Damon Green, best known as Zach Johnson’s caddie on the PGA Tour.

Fifteen players have won in their Champions Tour debut. The last to do it was Tom Pernice Jr. at the 2009 SAS Championship. Pernice, who’s playing this weekend, has not won in 18 tournaments since that memorable start.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.